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The wild Terminator: Dark Fate Easter egg you totally missed

If you ever need a new set of drapes or the protective services of an unstoppable killing machine, we've got a phone number for you.

Eight months after the release of Terminator: Dark Fate, one intrepid viewer — ScreenCrush editor and columnist Matt Singer — noticed a small detail in the film that apparently eluded literally everyone else. A working phone number can be spotted in the movie, and calling it produces a hilarious result.

Now, in case you haven't noticed, a lot of phone numbers displayed onscreen in film and on television begin with a 555 prefix, which isn't in general use anywhere — preventing hapless folks with the wrong number from being inundated with calls from movie fans with eagle eyes. In Dark Fate, Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 is living a quiet life under the guise of a normal guy named Carl, who owns a drapery service in Texas. On the side of his van, you can briefly see the number 888-512-1984 (although promotional stills replaced this with a 555 number). Singer gave it a ring, and tweeted the result: a voicemail message from the big guy himself.

"Hi, this is Carl's Draperies," Schwarzenegger's unmistakable voice intones. "We have the best drapes and curtains anywhere in Texas. I can guarantee you that. Sorry we're not here right now to answer your call, but we'll call you back. Until then, hasta la vista."

Another astute Twitter user replied to Singer's tweet to point out that this was actually a double Easter egg, if you will. The phone number, minus the 888, could also be read as a date: May 12, 1984. If you've seen the original Terminator as many times as we have, you may recognize this as the the date that the T-800 and Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) arrive in Los Angeles to carry out their respective missions, according to the beat cop whom Reese grills.

Working phone numbers in movies and TV are usually there for a reason

Those 555 numbers are an easy way for movie and TV producers to show a phone number on screen without the risk of viewers blowing up anyone's real phone. So, when you see a number that doesn't begin with that prefix, there's usually a reason. 

For a recent example, look no further than the third season of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, in which the phone number of former investigative journalist Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) — 618-625-8313 — can be spotted. (That's an Illinois area code, by the way, not an Indiana one.) Calling this number gives viewers a voicemail in which Murray addresses his mother and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), apparently the only two people who ever call him.

The "cheeky voicemail" trick has been used in a slew of movies and shows: Scrubs, Gilmore Girls, The Officeand Supernatural have all gotten in on the fun, to name just a few. Sometimes, though, the phone number itself will be the Easter egg. Such is the case with John Wick: Chapter 2, in which a couple of non-working numbers with 315 area codes can be seen. (The flick's editor, Evan DeWitt, included these specifically as a shout-out to his hometown of Syracuse, New York.)

Among all of these Easter eggs, though, is one that should have been but never was. In Avengers: Infinity Warwhen Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) picks up the phone that Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) had given to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) at the end of Captain America: Civil War, you can spot Cap's phone number: 678-136-7092. Dialing this number gives astute viewers ... nothing. However, it was supposed to: The directors of both films, Joe and Anthony Russo, previously disclosed that they intended for the number to send fans to Rogers' voicemail, but Disney inexplicably shot down the idea. 

How cool would it have been to have a working number labeled "CAPTAIN AMERICA" in your phone? Darn you, Mickey. At least we've got T-800 — er, Carl — to call up.